Eight years—one year of novitiate, three years of philosophy and four years of theology. Sometimes guys enter who have already completed some of the necessary studies for the priesthood, in which case the period would likely be shorter (but this is not a given). It might seem like a long time, but since there’s nothing more important than proper formation for a priest, its well-worth it.
The IVE has its own houses of formation for its seminarians, because we want to ensure that our guys get well-rounded formation that is entirely faithful to the Church and to the charism of our congregation. That said, we have five seminaries in the world: in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, the Philippines, the United States (just outside of Washington, DC) and in Italy (in Montefiascone, just outside of Rome). Generally speaking, American seminarians would study at the seminary here in the United States.
Because of the importance we place on the intellectual apostolate, and the fact that we want our priests to be able to teach both in our seminaries and elsewhere, the IVE also sends many of its priests and seminarians to outside (Pontifically recognized) universities, especially in Rome, in order to get advanced degrees (this is separate from their priestly formation). More than 1/3 of our priests have gotten or are in the process of getting an advanced degree in various fields—philosophy, theology, liturgy, sacred scripture, canon law, etc. In the US, we have also begun sending seminarians to do graduate studies at Catholic University of America while continuing their formation at our seminary—the goal is to have some guys earn their Licentiate degree even before their ordination so that they are in a better position to teach if necessary.
Here’s what our Constitutions say on the issue:
In order to fulfill this ongoing formation we desire that all the members of our Institute, according to their capacities and talents, take ecclesiastical or civil courses after the seminary. These will be taken preferably in the Pontifical Universities of Rome or in those recognized by the Holy See, to receive the qualifying title of Doctor or Licentiate. We already have a priestly community in Rome in which normally two years are spent for this reason. The formation in Rome implies the attainment of a Roman spirit (romanità), which entails a crown of virtues: universal openness, fidelity to the Magisterium, a missionary spirit, longanimity and magnanimity.
Among the places we have sent students are:
- Pontifical Gregorian University
- Pontifical Lateran University
- Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum)
- Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Santa Croce)
- Pontifical Patristics Institute (Augustinianum)
- Pontifical Biblical Institute (Biblicum)
- Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music
- Pontifical John Paul II Institute (Both in Rome and Washington, DC)
- Pontifical Atheneum Saint Anselm
- Pontifical Atheneum Regina Apostolorum
- Catholic University of America
The IVE has six major seminaries in the world:
- Mother of the Incarnate Word Seminary — San Rafel, Argentina
- Bl. José de Anchieta Seminary – São Paulo, Brazil
- Pope St. Vitalian International Seminary — Montefiascone, Italy (near Rome)
- Our Lady of Sheshan Seminary — Lipa, Philippines
- Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro Seminary — Arequipa, Peru
- Ven. Fulton Sheen House of Formation – Chillum, Maryland, United States
Nine novitiate houses:
- Bl. Frei Galvão Novitiate — São Paulo, Brazil
- Marcelo Morsella Novitiate — Santiago, Chile
- St. Anthony of the Desert Novitiate — Alexandria, Egypt
- Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati Novitiate — Segni, Italy
- St. Toribio de Mogrovejo Novitiate — Arequipa, Peru
- St. Joseph Freinademetz Novitiate — Lipa, Philippines
- Bl. Gregory Khomyshyn Novitiate — Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
- St. Isaac Jogues & Companion Martyrs Novitiate — Mount Rainier, MD, United States
- Bl. John Paul II Novitiate — Georgetown, Guyana
And ten minor seminaries:
- St. John the Apostle Minor Seminary — San Rafael, Argentina
- Servant of God Francisco Tito Yupanqui Minor Seminary— Oruro, Bolivia
- St. Tarcisius Minor Seminary — São Paulo, Brazil
- Bl. Francisco Marto Minor Seminary — Loja, Ecuador
- St. Charbel Makhluf Minor Seminary — Alexandria, Egypt
- Bl. John XXIII Minor Seminary — Trivento, Italy
- St. Andrew Tian Quing Minor Seminary — Arequipa, Peru
- Bl. Ceferino Namuncurá Minor Seminary — Caloocan City, Philippines
- Teodor Romzha Minor Seminary — Zakarpattya, Ukraine
- Bl. Jose Sanchez del Rio High School Seminary — Mankato, MN, United States
By “Religious Family of the Incarnate Word” we are referring to the three branches that share the same charism, spirituality, founder, and patronage:
- The Institute of the Incarnate Word (the male branch), which currently has 804 members—419 perpetually professed, 6 priests with temporal profession, 231 major seminarians (87 in Argentina; 5 in Spain, 46 in the USA; 12 in Peru; 47 in Italy; 20 in Brasil and 14 in the Philippines), 67 novices and postulants, and 81 minor seminarians (23 in Argentina; 19 in USA; 9 in Brasil; 14 in Italy; 5 in Egypt; 7 in Ukraine; 4 in Ecuador).
- The Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara (the female branch, whose habit is a distinctive blue and gray), which has about 1,000 members—perpetually professed sisters and those still in formation
- The Third Order of the IVE (the lay branch) has several thousand more members, and consists of married, single, and consecrated laypeople who want to share in the charism of our order.
So we’re about 1,800 religious all together, many more lay faithful!
In order to know whether or not a young man “identifies” with the charism and spirit of our Institute, he must be willing to live out our “non-negotiable” elements. Found on our page entitled, “What makes an IVE Priest“, the non-negotiables are the essential elements of our Institute’s charism that every member of our order must embody if he is to find sanctification in this particular way of life. If you find that while reading through these characteristics you are inspired by their demands, then it might be that God is calling you to join our Institute. However, the only truly certain method would be to discuss your interest in the Institute with our Vocations Director, or an IVE priest near you, and schedule a visit to our seminary in Washington, DC. May God’s grace and Our Lady’s prayers help you in your discernment.
First, anyone who uses the internet to find information he must do so with a discerning mind. Not everything that is published online is accurate or credible, and often times those who may have good intentions take things too far.
Those who publish things on blogs against our Institute might be doing so with good intentions, as a service to the Church, but nevertheless, respect for the good reputations of individual people and organizations is a principle that must also be followed, especially when they are religious representing the Church.
Second, for those who are seeking answers, we would say look at the fruits: the fruits of the work of the Institute as a whole and compare them to the fruits sought after by those “concerned” sites.
The fruits of the Institute are manifest.
They are manifest by the fact that the Institute was canonically erected by a competent Church authority. They are manifest by the fact that the Lord continues to call young men into the Institute. They are manifest by the fact that bishops around the world (in 40 countries) have entrusted the Institute of the Incarnate Word with the care of parishes and apostolates and the formation of seminarians in their diocese. They are manifest by the fact that members of the Institute are willing to risk their lives in Syria, Gaza, and Iraq and other parts of the world to prolong the Incarnation of Christ.
And compare this to what those sites and “info” blogs are trying to sow by seeking to deter men from the Institute.
We do not proclaim to be saints, but men who carry God’s grace in earthen vessels and who strive after holiness according to God’s upward call.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God. (Acts 5:38-39)